SIG SAUER Elite Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor
For 120 years, SIG SAUER has consistently produced quality firearms for military troops and civilian enthusiasts alike and in recent years has experienced a wealth of success in diversifying into non-firearm product categories like airguns, optics, suppressors, shooting accessories, and ammunition. SIG ammo, as the topic of the day, was launched in 2015, although work actually began a year earlier. By the end of 2015, SIG SAUER ammo was available for multiple handgun calibers, and it wasn’t long before centerfire rifle cartridges were added to the mix. Recently, I was asked to take a look at one such offering, SIG SAUER’s Elite Hunter 130-grain 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition.
If looks could kill, prey would keel over without a shot. SIG SAUER Elite Hunter 130-grain 6.5 Creedmoor ammo definitely stands out in a crowd—in a world of brass cases and copper bullets, it’s something of an industry murder hornet. Rather than typical brass cases produced by most ammo manufacturers, Elite Hunter ammo boasts a nickel-plated case designed to mitigate corrosion and provide ultra-reliable extraction. Unlike common gilding-metal jackets, often copper alloy, Elite Hunter bullets features a concentric black jacket purposed in reliable, controlled expansion. To top it off, SIG’s translucent-yellow polymer tip aids in chambering, enhances the cartridge’s ballistic coefficient (more on that in a bit), and turns terminal performance up a down-right-there notch. All said, there is no mistaking SIG SAUER’s Elite Hunter ammunition. Of course, looks aren’t everything.
Near or far, bullet placement is key, and with more hunters than ever taking shots at longer distances, ballistic performance has become a more critical element to hunting. In reviewing Elite Hunter ammunition as both a hunter and a precision long-range shooter, this is where I focused considerable attention… and Triple C Shooting Range is where I focused on proving whether or not Elite Hunter is elite-flying ammunition.
Tucked in the heart of a 3,000-acre North-Central Texas ranch just south of DFW, Triple C holds three zeroing ranges out to 200 yards, numerous shooting lanes running from 300 to 1,000 yards, and a robust array of shooting lanes beginning at 800 yards and stepping out at 100-yard increments to 1,800 yards. Triple C’s long-range crown jewel is a steel target I refer to affectionately as Ol’ Yeller—a 2-MOA steel plate set on the horizon just 2,000 yards away from the firing line. To be sure, average flight time with well-equipped ammo to such a distance is roughly 3.5 seconds. Equally as challenging as pushing out to 1,000 yards and beyond, up to double the distance at Triple C, is working through wind calls—winds can and do affect bullet flight from multiple directions. For the impatient, it can be frustrating. For those who aspire to become better marksmen, going distance on Triple C’s expansive prairie landscape is both exceptionally challenging and wildly fun. It’s also the perfect setting for ammo tests.
To test SIG’s Elite Hunter 130-grain 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, I employed a McRees Precision BR-10 Rifle with a Pac-Nor match-grade barrel and Timney 510 trigger, Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30×50 first-focal-plane riflescope, ZRO Delta DLOC-BA scope base, Phoenix Weaponry PW-338 suppressor, Accu-Tac WB-4 bipod, and a LabRadar chrono. With limited ammo for testing, I settled in on a bench and warmed up the barrel with a half-dozen loose rounds before committing to Elite Hunter ammo. While I had zero set within six shots, I fired eight more for a 14-round look at muzzle velocity, energy, momentum, and standard deviation. Also in the first 14 rounds, I was able to knock out a ½-MOA six-shot group—quite impressive for “hunting” ammo and little more than the Accu-Tac bipod and a rear-squeeze bag.
SIG SAUER reports this particular cartridge’s ballistic coefficient (G1) as .501 and velocity at 1,850 fps. Out of my rifle, average muzzle velocity and energy were recorded at 1,927 fps. and 2,473 ft.-lbs. respectively. Extreme spread across 14 rounds was 41 and standard deviation was just 11.0—a nice surprise! Across 14 rounds of testing through the LabRadar revealed exceptional consistency.
With initial testing and zeroing complete, we packed up and headed for Triple C’s Bravo Range to engage 2-MOA targets from 800 to 1,800 yards. For long-range shooting, I pulled out my Blackhawk Pro Shooter’s Mat and dropped into a low, comfortable prone position. Out of the gate, SIG’s Elite Hunter flew well. Within just a few shots, I landed back-to-back sub-MOA impacts at 1,000 yards, followed by a first-shot impact at center-mass on 1,100. Soon after, I drilled an MOA group at 1,200 before moving on to 1,500.
After three consecutive hits at 1,500 yards, I thought I was done, but my troublemaking spotter, Mike Burks, had other ideas. Just like the time he dared me to run 115-grain +P 9mm ammo from my PCC9 rifle out to 400 yards, Burk’s challenged again: “Go for 1,600 yards.” With one round remaining (three more saved for hunting), I checked my dope sheet, ran up to 19.3 mils of elevation and .8 right of windage (wind was perfect), settled onto the rifle, and acquired my target. With Burks on the spotter, I breathed, relaxed, aimed, reached my natural respiratory pause, and then squeezed. “Impact, just about 6 inches off center at 7 o’clock.” There you have it. If you’re wondering if SIG SAUER’s Elite Hunter flies like elite ammo, stop wondering. It definitely flies.
If you’re wondering if it drops game animals, the answer again is yes. I used my last few rounds on a hog hunt. Three shots stopped as many hogs in their tracks. While shot placement was a primary factor, wounds in all three hogs indicated devastating energy and expansion. Impressive flight and terminal performance… SIG SAUER’s Elite Hunter 130-grain 6.5 Creedmoor makes a win-win mark in my book.